Oh, wait, except it totally is.
|The one current picture I could find without|
a flipping hair accessory
I woke up this morning and found out that Tanaka Reina, the face of Morning Musume, will be graduating at the end of Momusu's spring 2013 tour. The funny thing is some rumors had been flying around that Sayumi was the one who would be graduating soon what with her name being in the concert title. But nope, this is going to be Reina's last hurrah in the group and honestly? I'm kind of excited.
Okay, please don't take that the wrong way. Although I've said on more than one occasion that I am not the hugest fan of Tanaka Reina, I'm not jumping up and down for joy that she's graduating. I admit, her Yankee schtick always seemed cooler to me than her Winky stick and sometimes I got tired of hearing so much of her in every song but still. She's essentially one of two faces of Morning Musume (in terms of vocals and exposure within the group) and she's also the last of the good vocalists from the Ai era. I always considered Ai, Gaki, Reina and Eri to be like the "table legs" of Morning Musume. You cut off one leg of the table (Eri's) and it can still stand. One more leg (Ai's) and it leans but it's still standing. Then another leg (Gaki's) and only one last leg can keep the heavily lopsided table standing: in this case, Reina. So once that last table leg is cut off, what does that mean for the group vocally? Time to build a new table, that's what it means! For so long now Reina has been leading the songs and the only other person who gets as many lines as she does is Riho. Now, unless UFP is even stupider than I thought, obviously not all of Momusu's future songs can feature just Riho squeaking out notes that are too high for her range and everyone else getting a syllable or two to sing. The poor girl's going to get nodules on her vocal cords if that happens! General consensus is that Sakura is most likely going to take over as lead vocal and I'm in that boat of people. The girl can sing and her Kenshuuhei training has given her the stamina and vocal strength to do so. Of course, Ayumi the Shark also might get pushed to the front; I've seen her getting a bit of a push. Maybe even Haruka if UFP decides to use her yet and hopefully Mizuki too! She's been getting some push alongside Sayu with minor vocals.
Speaking of minor vocals... Reina's graduation is probably going to change those too. Hell, her graduation is going to change the entire scheme of how Momusu works. Reina has been undisputed lead singer of Momusu for years, longer than I've been in the H!P fandom. For a long time, especially since Ai graduated, I feel like UFP's been using her as a vocal crutch and failing to promote many of the other newbs because she can sing already and has better vocals. I can't argue with that because she does have a very well-trained voice so what happens when those good vocals are gone? Well, I believe that is when these newbs who have been languishing in the back are going to have to step it up. The idol soloist is gone and it's an idol free-for-all to see who can snag some of those solos. I'm really curious to see who's going to come out on top. Of course, Riho's position as lead singer is pretty much sealed unless Sakura usurps that position, a very likely possibility. Even Mizuki might be able to snag a position as a lead singer but I also think she's pretty much sticking around as a minor vocalist like she has for the group's past few songs. Masaki will probably stay as a minor vocalist too but given the right type of song (a hyper-peppy and upbeat song) I could see UFP giving her a position as lead. I'm also hoping that Reina's graduation will lead to Haruka finally getting some vocal spotlight; she's pretty much been languishing in the back for all the time she's been in MM which is a damn shame. She has a great voice and more importantly she has a great voice that isn't squeaky. I think her age is the one thing keeping her in the back and I predict that a few years into the future, she'll be quite a mighty force to be reckoned with vocally. Maybe even one of the lead vocalists of Momusu...
Okay, I admit I'm approaching this graduation announcement the same way I'd approach a rich and distant relative I'd never met in my life suddenly dying and leaving a boatload of cash in his will to yours truly. But I can't help it! As heartless as it sounds, I'm just really excited to see how the arrangement of Morning Musume is going to change once of its key members has graduated. For so long, Reina's been leading the group and to have her graduating so soon... This is going to be huge, I just know it! And naturally, she'll probably get a sparkly Reina-centric single and graduation to send her off to I'm sure her fans will appreciate that! And she's not even dropping off the face of the planet; after graduating MM, Reina wants to work with her new band. Apparently they want to become a rival to Scandal so... good luck to them I guess. But her fans can always check out her work with her band once she's gone from Momusu! You know, thinking about her leaving does make me a teensy bit sad... now the only pre-2011 member left is Sayumi. I do hope Sayumi still stick around just a bit longer since I think she's a great leader for the group right now. But for Reina, I feel like this is the right time for her to graduate. For the past few singles, she's looked a little... bored? I think her graduation can finally give Morning Musume the chance to truly recreate itself with its new members and that's what makes me so excited. Not only that, Reina can finally pursue the activities she feels invested in... it's a win-win! Well, if you're a Reina fan it's more of a win-lose... I will admit, it is a little depressing to watch their older music videos and realize that only two girls in them are still in the group, and one of them's leaving soon.
So is the graduation sad? Yes. Was it Reina's time? I think so. Am I ecstatic to see what the future holds for Morning Musume? Oh hell yes!